All care model identified as cure for care deficit
An identified deficit in the provision of aged care can be fixed if a more holistic approach is taken rather than the current care model says a leading service provider.
Tall Trees, a pioneer of supported living for seniors in Australia, says care provided to older Australian’s needs to focus more on an ‘all-care’ model to stay ahead of the deficit as outlined in a recent joint submission from Deloitte and the Aged Care Association of Australia to the Productivity Commission.
Tall Trees director Phil Usher says the aged care industry’s long-standing model of low and high care when determining a person’s needs is fast becoming outdated and a potential burden to the system.
Mr Usher says supported living, closely aligned with the concept of ageing in place, allows seniors to move into and live in the one home while receiving varying levels of care depending on their own personal needs and is the perfect solution to the care deficit.
“Over time the aged care industry has gotten used to care in terms of low and high, however it is now recognised that most people require tailored care depending on their individual circumstances,” Mr Usher says.
“This is exactly what supported living provides and meets the requirements of traditional low and high care and everything in between.
“The deficit in the provision of care is increasing because as an industry we’re not thinking beyond what is in front of us, and we see supported living as one of the answers.”
The Productivity Commission report says as cost pressures in aged care increase, providers will have little choice but to reduce the hours of care they provide for each package.
Mr Usher says recent statements made by the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) regarding the amount of time each resident receives help in aged care also support this claim.
“The ANF says the minimum required is four and half hours of nursing care per resident per day, with anything less causing a rise in the number of unnecessary transfers of aged care residents to public hospitals,” Mr Usher says.
“Care has fallen by 20 percent in the last four years from an average of three hours and 14 minutes to two hours and 36 minutes for each resident per day, well below the required level.
“Part of the solution is to ensure we don’t apply any extra pressure on the public system, and other models of care such as supported living need to be considered.”
Mr Usher says education about supported living can go a long way in helping the problem, especially as an option for self funded retirees.
“We need to match the right services and customise care to each individual, and promoting supported living to the self funded retiree market as an option will potentially ease the burden on the public system,” Mr Usher says.
“The first step in achieving this is to make the industry aware of alternatives such as supported living, particularly for seniors who can fund their own choices in aged care.
“Because it is still a relatively new concept, many working in aged care such as doctors and discharge planners may not even be aware of this care model.
“Just by having this option in front of both professionals and the end user when discussing aged care will go a long way in getting the outcomes right.”
Mr Usher says the cost to society as a whole is also of concern with the increasing number of people entering aged care set to further burden the system.
“What will happen if we don’t get on top of the care deficit now, especially with the number of seniors to increase by more than 300 percent in the next few years, and the number of people aged 85 and over to more than quadruple?” Mr Usher says.
“It’s clear that matching the right level of care through the right model can spread the costs, taking a holistic approach to providing this care is integral to this outcome.
“Supported living needs to be one of the options actively promoted by the industry as the more we can spread the actual cost of providing aged care the easier it will be to meet the increase in needs.”
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